herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Women TDs have to work much harder, says O'Connor

Mary Mitchell O'Connor
Mary Mitchell O'Connor

fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor says women have to work twice as hard as men in Dail Eireann after admitting she cried when she was passed over for a ministerial role in last July's reshuffle.

"All through my career I have had to prove myself," said the former secondary school principal (pictured).

"We are not seen in there (Dail). It's not the culture in there. So obviously we have to be twice as good as the average man." she added.

And after she missed out on a ministerial position during the summer she shed some tears. Later, she confronted Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the issue.

"It was frank. I laid out the facts," she said of the conversation with the country's leader.

resolve

She said the experience only gave her more personal and political resolve.

"There are bumps, but you just have to keep going. If I give up now, what's the point? Now is the time to dig in, dig deep and work twice as hard." said the Dun Laoghaire TD, who won her Dail seat on her first run.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor's contemporary, Tanaiste Joan Burton, said that the ratio of males to females in the Dail was worse than in the private sector.

Just 15pc of TDs are women. "Progress is being made in advancing equality, but it's not being made as fast as I would like," said the Labour party leader recently at a Network Ireland event.

Referring to the number of female TDs she said: "To think of that figure another way, as the Women for Election organisation puts it, this means that the Dail has never been less than 85pc male."

jfegan@herald.ie

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